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Switch spending from building more roads to zero-carbon communities: welcome for Just Transition Commission report

Published 23 March 2021 by Transform Scotland

Transform Scotland has today welcomed the key message from the Just Transition Commission in their final report, published today, that: ‘We must move beyond GDP as the main measure of national progress. For a just transition to be at the heart of Scotland’s response to climate change, Scottish Government must champion frameworks that prioritise wellbeing.’

The Commission once again sets out an essential recommendation to achieving a just transition in transport: ‘that any existing transport spend earmarked for increased road capacity should be redirected toward creating communities that embed low-carbon lifestyles.’

Transform spokesperson Jess Pepper said:

“Switching investment from building more roads to zero-carbon communities is the most urgent action that Scotland needs to make, to avoid locking more emissions, exacerbating the climate emergency and injustice. Most of Scotland’s emissions come from transport, especially cars and this needs to urgently shift – not least because 30% of households in Scotland do not even have access to a car. 

“Redirecting transport spend from the massive amounts committed to increasing road capacity to creating communities with better active and sustainable options would improve health, tackle inequalities and support a just transition in the economy, creating good jobs and resilient communities. This switch would bring about huge benefits for everyone. 

“Transform Scotland welcomed the Commission’s Advice for a Green Recovery in July last year, which has already encouraged delivery of a positive transition for buses. New investment in zero emission vehicles to replace older buses, is sustaining jobs, apprenticeships and will improve services — especially for those who need them most. This is clear evidence of a truly just transition.  

“It is now likely that we will see iconic electric buses, that have been made in Scotland, in Glasgow for COP26 this November – a specific recommendation of the Commission last summer that is already sustaining jobs, supporting change and demonstrating leadership.

“For true leadership on climate, Transform Scotland urges everyone to ask their prospective candidates for Holyrood whether they are committed to the switch in the transport budget – from high carbon to low carbon – that the Commission recommend.”